In response to fast-moving brush fires that erupted in Southern California over the last 24 hours, Direct Relief activated its Emergency Response Team, who has been coordinating with state and local officials as well as its clinic and health center partners.
The 65-year-old Santa Barbara-based humanitarian organization has readied its stock of masks, inhalers, nebulizers and other items used to treat patients suffering from respiratory problems related to the fire and smoke.
“In addition to widespread devastation to homes and businesses, wildfires can cause serious health risks for people living with chronic disease who rapidly evacuate their homes without bringing their critically-needed medication,” said Direct Relief’s Director of U.S. Programs, Damon Taugher.
Direct Relief works with more than 1,000 health clinics across the U.S. to assist in emergencies and an ongoing basis, providing them with free medications for people in need.
The nonprofit has spoken with staff at Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks as well as Clinicas del Camino Real in Newbury Park. Both clinics appreciated the offers of support and will maintain communication as the situation develops.
Direct Relief is a long-standing member of the California Emergency Management Agency’s Business and Utility Operations Center (BUOC) which engages private industry during emergencies for support. This working group of private, public, and nonprofit organizations was assembled to address the public’s needs during a large-scale emergency within California in a coordinated, efficient way.